Veteran killed after celebrating return from duty

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - A 21-year-old Army veteran was shot to death Sunday after a dispute at a party, only months after his return from Afghanistan, police said.

Francisco Garcia had left a party at his girlfriend's house and was on a sidewalk in the San Fernando Valley around 2 a.m. Sunday when two cars pulled up. A man got out of one vehicle, smashed a beer bottle on the ground and yelled at Garcia before going back to the second car to grab a gun, police said.

Garcia died at the scene. No one else was injured.

Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon told reporters that "the ironies are obvious. To survive as a soldier in an overseas conflict, only to be killed in your neighborhood upon your return."

Los Angeles police detective Juan Santa told The Associated Press that Garcia is believed to have returned from Afghanistan over the summer.

It was initially reported that the party was held to celebrate Garcia's return to the United States, but Santa said that was not clear yet based on the information police had.

Police believe the shooter targeted Garcia after a dispute Saturday. No arrests have been made.

Detectives do not believe those involved had been at the party.

"It appears Francisco was the target of the attack," Vernon said. "Apparently, a simmering dispute had boiled over during the night, and this suspect came looking for Francisco. Figuring out the dispute should lead us to the shooter."

Authorities talked to several witnesses and collected evidence, including several bullet casings.

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